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Experts from 1663 R.I. Charter Commission to Highlight 350th Anniversary Kickoff

Panel discussion on May 9 launches a series of RWU events focused on the Charter’s significance

BRISTOL, R.I. – With the statewide celebration of the 350th Anniversary of the Rhode Island Colonial Charter fast approaching, Roger Williams University will kick off a series of events focused on the Charter’s significance with a panel discussion on Thursday, May 9.

During the event – titled Introduction to the Rhode Island Charter: A Panel Discussion – five members of Governor Chafee’s Rhode Island 1663 Colonial Charter Commission will bring their unique perspectives to a discussion of the document. The conversation will focus on the quest undertaken by Roger Williams and John Clarke as they sought to secure this charter from King Charles II – a document with significant influence on other colonial charters and on the U.S. Constitution itself.

Scott MacKay, political analyst for Rhode Island Public Radio, will moderate the discussion. The five panelists include:

  • Dr. Patrick Conley, Esq. – Professor of History, Providence College (retired)
  • Dr. Morgan Grefe – Executive Director, Rhode Island Historical Society
  • Dr. Stanley Lemons – Professor Emeritus of History, Rhode Island College
  • David Logan, Esq. – Dean and Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law
  • Ray Rickman – Historian and President of the Rickman Group                                                       

The discussion will be held on Thursday, May 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. in Global Heritage Hall, Room G01, on the University’s Bristol campus at One Old Ferry Road. It is free and open to the public – no tickets or reservations are required.

The event will serve as the kickoff to a series of RWU events focused on the Charter during its 350th year. Nine days later, award-winning author and historian John M. Barry – acclaimed biographer of Roger Williams himself – will address the Roger Williams University Class of 2013 and receive an honorary degree during the University’s Commencement exercises.

Other events, including an early fall panel of RWU faculty who will convene to expand the conversation on the Charter, are being planned. Event details will be released in the coming months.